“We are charged with augmenting the capacity of humanitarian actors to respond with strengthened operational and technical plans should a public health outbreak of international concern occur,” CCP’s Kathryn Bertram explained when the program began in 2018.
In 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world, READY has gone from preparing for a potential epidemic or pandemic to digging in to supporting a humanitarian response.
READY was created after Ebola outbreaks exposed gaps in how governments, donors and aid agencies coordinate and respond to far-reaching disease epidemics. Particularly in the West Africa Ebola outbreak that began in 2014, it became clear that lack of trust in emergency response efforts and health facilities at the community level likely exacerbated the crisis. At the same time, health and humanitarian officials were hampered in their ability to engage community members to help contain the disease and its impacts, including economic hardships, food insecurity, orphaned children, increases in maternal mortality and trauma, to name some.
Since COVID-19 emerged at the end of 2019 and has killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, READY has conducted seven successful regional and country-level “readiness” workshops and a series of 10 webinars focusing on COVID-19 in the humanitarian context. It has also developed a knowledge management platform and an online risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) toolkit with RCCE technical and operational tools, including READY’s six-step community engagement process for COVID-19.
Though global in scope, READY executes focused activities in four priority regions — Asia, East and Southern Africa, the Middle East, and West and Central Africa — and in six priority countries across these regions — Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, South Sudan, Uganda and Vietnam.